The Japanese Empire at its Peak in 1942


In 1942, apparently underestimating Allied strength and the time necessary to launch successful counteroffensives, Imperial Japan planned redeployment in China, stabilization in the southern regions of its occupied territory and preparation of the outer perimeter defenses. New air bases were established in Indochina, Thailand, Burma and Malaya. New offensive operations were initiated in New Guinea and the Aleutians and the defense of Guadalcanal was vigorously pursued. 

With the tremendous losses of carriers and aircraft at the Battle of Midway, the Imperial Japanese Navy lost its former mastery of the Pacific. In February 1943, Japan abandoned Guadalcanal after five months of intense fighting.  In May 1943 the Japanese ended their occupation of the Aleutian Islands as U.S. forces captured Attu.

During the subsequent bloody years of the Pacific War, the Empire of Japan defended its shrinking perimeter.